Foundation and Foods explore Castle tax credit

Published 1:29 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2015

By Diana McFarland

News editor

Smithfield Foods and the Windsor Castle Park Foundation are exploring the use of tax credits to aid in the renovation of the Windsor Castle manor house, according to Smithfield Town Attorney William Riddick.

Because the house is considered historic, there are possible state and federal tax credits available for its restoration, Riddick said, adding that it allows Foods to enjoy tax benefits from its charitable contribution.

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The 18th century mansion was once owned by Smithfield founder, Arthur Smith IV and is the centerpiece of Windsor Castle Park.

Foods and the Foundation are looking to form a third entity in which to be partners, Riddick said.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Riddick said there was little else to say, given the plans are in the “infant stages.”

At the same time, the town will continue to own the property and not lose ownership, he said.

Another hurdle is obtaining approval for any renovations from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, under which the house and surrounding 42 acres are under an historic easement.

Recently, the town announced that Foods plans to contribute $1 million to the restoration, in addition to the $300,000 it has already spent on related architectural fees. In return, the town of Smithfield has pledged $2 million to the effort. Where that money would come from has yet to be determined, according to town officials.

At the same time, the Windsor Castle Park Foundation is kicking off a fundraising drive to generate about $4 million for future phases of the project.

Once renovated, Windsor Castle will be used primarily as a rental facility for private functions.  Part of the plans includes building a separate events center.

Town councilman Milton Cook said there are no plans to turn The Smithfield Center over to Smithfield Foods for office space. Rumors in town had the Center being torn down and recreated at Windsor Castle Park.

Those rumors are not true, said Cook in an email.

Foods had looked at the Center and determined it was not “usable space” for what they needed, Cook said.

Smithfield Foods President and CEO C. Larry Pope announced earlier this year that the company was looking for additional office space in town, as it planned to expand its workforce. {/mprestriction}